Continuing update to the use of Starlink in the Falkland Islands: Part 5

Warning! This is a long issue, as it captures all the action concerning Starlink use in the Falkland Islands since Part 4 was published in late May 2024; this takes us through to 14th June 2024. Enjoy!

I want to thank the islands’ media, Penguin News, Falkland Islands Radio, and Falkland Islands TV, for their excellent reporting of the Starlink situation.

27th April 2024: Bahrain to grant Starlink licenses for satellite and internet services. Why is this so interesting? The company that owns Sure International, which owns Sure Falkland Islands, is no other than Batelco, the national carrier of Bahrain (C&W used to own 30% of Batelco).

 27th May 2024, Traighana Smith of Falkland Islands Radio (FIRS) interviewed MLA Mark Pollard about the hot topic of the moment: Starlink.

5th June, 2024, the Acting Governor, Dave Morgan, gave the annual address to the Legislative Council. His comments concern the Sure Exclusive Communications Licence, which ends on December 31st, 2027.

Source: Falkland Islands Television (FITV)

At the same meeting, MLA Mark Pollard discussed Sure’s Exclusive Communications Licence and Peraton’s Southern View project.

Source: Falkland Islands Television (FITV)

10th June 2014: The Chief Executive Officer, Andy Keeling, posted this Falkland Islands Government press release entitled “Chief Executive’s comments on telecoms matters” on Facebook.

This press statement refers to three issues:

  1.  There were significant broadband outages in the week beginning June 3rd 2024.
  2. The up-and-coming review and actions about the end of Sure’s Exclusive telecommunications licence.
  3. The government has permitted Starlink to operate in the Falkland Islands (though Starlink hasn’t responded yet). This is important as the Acting Regulator has already issued several local Starlink licences.
Andy Keeling press release.

6th June 2024: The broadband outages referred to by the Chief Executive in the above Press release were very severe. The whole island’s broadband service was down for over three hours during one of the busiest shopping times of the day.

From an islander’s perspective using PingPlotter, the red lines show when there were 100% packet losses. The black line shows connectivity but with round-time-trip delays of up to 1860mS instead of around 570mS.

This graph shows round-time-trip delays in mS and packet losses in the islands’ network. The top of the plot shows nodes in the UK, and the bottom in Stanley.

June 13th, 2024, the Starlink Petition Group released a press release stating that MLA Roger Spink will be the Group’s MLA sponsor. It is also understood that all the Legislative Assembly MLAs offered to sponsor the Petition, which can be seen as very positive.

MLA Spink Press Release (2)

Spot the Starlink antenna on Lillibet, the Fisheries Patrol Vessel.

13th June 2024: The Penguin News had an advert for the Starlink Petition: Join the Reveal public meeting on July 11th. The petition results will be revealed on the night and handed over to the Starlink Petition Group MLA sponsor, Roger Spinks.

Advert & Poster v5 (2)

MLA Gavin Short discussed the Electronic Patient Record System issues at the King Edward VII Hospital in Stanley, which need urgent replacement. However, the islands’ broadband service is too slow and unreliable for modern cloud-based applications. Is Starlink a cure, he asks?

13th June: Sure Falkland Islands is withdrawing its OneWeb services, although they were never actually launched. The OneWeb infrastructure was installed by Intelsat, OneWeb’s reseller partner. The statement “reintroduce low-latency services once the technology is proven” feels somewhat disconcerting.

14th June 2024: Roger Spink, the petition’s MLA sponsor, was interviewed by FITV while he was in the UK.

Source: Falkland Islands Television (FITV)

On a lighter note, Ross James has written a fairy tale analogy for the Falkland Islands’ broadband service.

Chris Gare, OpenFalklands June 2024, copyright OpenFalklands

3 Replies to “Continuing update to the use of Starlink in the Falkland Islands: Part 5

  1. From an outsider’s perspective… Compliments to the petition drafter(s). It focuses on a practical solution that is reasonable and proportional. It also doesn’t get sidetracked into things that don’t matter, like Sure, Intelsat, OneWeb, a telecom consultant, or “the people with whom we have an NDA.”

    It is good to see the AG backtrack on its communications with SpaceX. But it seems clear that the government still is not taking a strategic view on its interactions with the company. SpaceX is not going to spend its limited resources applying for access to the islands market. So the islands just needs to say: “Welcome, here’s the account number for tax/license payments, which is ___% of service price.” Anything more is an unnecessary barrier that invites inaction.

    Continued good luck!

  2. Bahrain has been more pragmatic than its neighbours in relation to disruptive technologies, like the United Arab Emirates, which ban or block them, and at one point was touted as a regional hub for Skype.

    However, Batelco isn’t keen on net neutrality, as it has mobile packages charging extra for social media

    Here – – it states:
    ” Social media applications are YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, Snapchat, Tango, Line, LinkedIn, Skype & Viber.”

    8.5 dirhams is £18, 9.5 dirhams £20 – the flipside is that their international call rates are less than Sure in the South Atlantic, not hard.

    Of course, the Falklands doesn’t have any home-grown OTT services to protect, and international call volumes are negligible, so Sure doesn’t do anything to throttle the international ones.

    Before it was accused of throttling or blocking VoIP, Cable & Wireless was accused of blocking international call-back telephone services, despite repeatedly stating in the Penguin News it was doing no such thing. That was in 2000, but while technology has changed, the mindset of some has not.

    On a related note, in 1988 there was a petition presented to LegCo, as then was, calling for access to SSVC’s TV service in Stanley, which was only available because a councillor, Charles Keenleyside, had put up a repeater in Sapper Hill, but which was shut down by FIG because of concerns over rights issues.

    That got between 450 and 500 signatories, so it will be interesting to see how many ones the Starlink petition gets – at least double, I hope!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.